Monday, April 4, 2011

More Tips for Building Character

I am in the midst of designing a new class for Your Plot Thickens Writing Workshops that will touch on how to build stronger characters throughout your novel or screenplay. Some of the tips that I will be teaching in this class are:
1) What is your character’s voice? I advise you begin to speak as that character speaks. You can do this in your head or actually out-loud. I also want to know how she moves, walks, sits or eats dinner? What does she do when she first gets up in the morning? Then, what are her steps for getting ready for bed? A lot of screenplays that are heavily character-driven will even begin by showing what the main character does when they wake up first thing in the morning. Two movies that come to mind right now are Sideways and Stranger Than Fiction. Basically, what are your character's rules for living her life?
2) What is related to what your character's voice is, obviously, is what her dialogue is like? Does she speak the same way to everyone? I assume that she will have a different way of speaking to her parents, than she does with her children, than she does with her significant other. And how does she speak with people out in the world? Is she polite or impolite when she goes to order her morning coffee? Finally, does she have any special catch phrases? Does she use a lot of slang? These will be important issues when writing how your character actually converses.
3) Also, I would like to how your character might create her own obstacles. This is related to her flaw, of course. But does she leave her room really messy, and thus she can't find her car keys, which leads her to be late for work or school each day? Or is she the ultimate neat-freak, and thus she neglects her husband or children because all she ever does is spend the whole day cleaning the house?

No comments:

Post a Comment